Last updated: Thurs 9 Apr 2020
- Can I claim my home internet?
- Can I claim my utility bills (including gas and electricity)?
- Can I claim my mobile phone?
- Can I claim office furniture and/or equipment?
- Can I claim my rent?
- Can I claim my mortgage?
- Can I claim my printing?
- Can I claim cleaning costs?
- Can I claim my breakfast, lunch or dinner?
- Can I claim my coffee(s)?
- Can I claim my child care?
- Can I claim for my curtains, carpets and light fittings?
- Does claiming deductions for home office have any longer term impacts, e.g. capital gains or insurance policy issues?
- I’ve heard there is a $300 threshold? Is that correct? What does that mean?
- How do I calculate how much to claim?
- Can I claim if I build a makeshift wall / stand to have behind my workspace for video calls to make my workspace more private if I don't have a home office space?
- Will ATO make changes to allow individuals to claim a wider breath of WFH expenditure during self isolation periods?
- Can I claim the cost of a wall to build between me and my kids when I'm working from home...???
What can I claim?
Can I claim my home internet?
Yes, you can claim a deduction for the work-related portion of your home internet expenses if this cost is not paid for by your employer.
For claims up to $50, you don’t require a lot of supporting documentation. Any claims greater than $50 require a little more evidence, which you can read more about here.
Can I claim my utility bills (including gas and electricity)?
This depends on whether you have a dedicated work area in your home, like a study. If you don’t have a dedicated area, you can’t claim any utility costs on your return.
If you do have a dedicated work area, there’s a couple of ways you can go about claiming these amounts on your tax return. One is quite simple, and the other is fairly complicated.
The easiest and most common way to claim these amounts is to claim 67c for each hour you work from home - which you should track through a simple diary log.
If you prefer to claim a deduction for the actual costs of your utility costs, this will require a bit of effort including information about the cost per unit of power used, and average units used per hour. You can read more about this here.
Can I claim my mobile phone?
In terms of your mobile data and calls, the answer is the same as your home internet. The work-related portion of these amounts are claimable to the extent that your employer has not paid you for them.
You can claim up to $50 for these phone running costs with little documentation, or you can claim the actual work-related portion if you collect a few more pieces of info which you can read about here
If you purchased a new phone outright in the tax year, you may be able to claim a deduction for the decline in value (depreciation) of the phone.
Can I claim office furniture and/or equipment?
Furniture and other office equipment that you purchase to facilitate working from home are claimable on your income tax return. If the item is up to $300, this is super easy as you can claim the full cost of the item. However, if the item is greater than $300, you will need to claim a deduction for the decline in value of the item (a.k.a depreciation), which you can read more about here.
Common furniture items, chattels and fixtures are included in the fixed rate 52c per hour method so do not need to be separately depreciated.
Check out the below list for some example office equipment purchases that can be claimed if they relate to your home office:
- Monitor/Second screen
Can I claim my rent?
In almost all cases, as an employee you are unable to claim a deduction for your rent, or any other home occupancy expenses. You can learn more about the very limited circumstances in which this may be possible on the ATO website here
Can I claim my mortgage?
As your mortgage is also an occupancy expense, you will most likely not be able to claim a deduction for this. You can read more about this here
Can I claim my printing?
Yes, the work-related portion of your printing costs (up to $300) such as paper and ink are claimable on your return (assuming your employer has not paid for these amounts or reimbursed you for them).
For a printer, this would fall under office equipment.
Can I claim cleaning costs?
Yes, you are able to claim your cleaning expenses relating to a dedicated workspace. The easiest way to claim these costs is through the 67c per hour method. You can read more about this here.
Can I claim my breakfast, lunch or dinner?
No, unfortunately meal costs, like lunch during a normal work day (either at work or at home), are generally private in nature and are considered non-deductible expenses.
Can I claim my coffee(s)?
Generally, the cost of buying food and coffee cannot be claimed as a deduction in your tax return as the expense does not directly relate to earning your income. The cost of food, drink or snacks you consume in the course of your normal working hours are considered private expenses.
Can I claim my child care?
Child care expenses are not claimable as a tax deduction in your tax return when you are working, whether or not you are working from home. Child care expenses are considered to be a private expense.
Can I claim for my curtains, carpets and light fittings?
Yes, you are able to claim a deduction for the decline in value of these home office items in each tax year. The depreciation of these items is included in the 67c per hour fixed rate OR you may choose to calculate the depreciation on these chattels and fixtures separately if you choose not to use the fixed rate method.
Other common questions:
Does claiming deductions for home office have any longer term impacts, e.g. capital gains or insurance policy issues?
Unless you treat your home office as a place of business and claim a deduction for occupancy expenses (not usually the case for employees who have a regular place of work elsewhere), then claiming deductions related to working from home is unlikely to have an impact on the capital gains tax due when you sell your home or create insurance policy issues.
I’ve heard there is a $300 threshold? Is that correct? What does that mean?
This depends on the category of home office expense you are concerned about.
In the context of equipment purchases, the $300 threshold defines the point at which the full cost of the item can be claimed (if up to $300), or can’t be claimed. If an item is greater than $300, you can still claim a deduction, but in most cases you will need to claim a deduction for the decline in value of the asset purchased. This is quite complicated, but you can read more about this here
In the context of running expenses, such as computer consumables, the $300 threshold defines a cap which limits the total deduction you can claim. You can only claim up to $300 worth of these expenses on your income tax return.
How do I calculate how much to claim?
The easiest way to claim the cost of your running expenses (e.g. heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning and the decline in value of furniture) is through the 67c method, where you claim a deduction of 67c for each hour you work from home.
For other expenses, the work-related portion of the full cost may be claimed as a deduction (or depreciated) on your return to the extent that these amounts are not reimbursed by your employer. To understand how you calculate these, you can check out this article here
Can I claim if I build a makeshift wall / stand to have behind my workspace for video calls to make my workspace more private if I don't have a home office space?
This would likely be treated as an office plant and equipment purchase, and so would be claimable on your tax return. Just keep the $300 threshold in mind, as you can either claim the full cost of the expense if it is up to $300 in value, or you can claim some value of depreciation if the value is greater than $300.
Will ATO make changes to allow individuals to claim a wider breath of WFH expenditure during self isolation periods?
It is certainly possible that the government may announce further tax breaks and incentives to support those who are WFH during self-isolation periods. We’ll do our best to keep you updated on these if/as they come.
Can I claim the cost of a wall to build between me and my kids when I'm working from home?
We have heard this kind of question from a number of customers!! Working from home has its challenges and we recognise the difficulties of working with children at home in the current climate. That said, it’s not our position to comment on what is the best set up for you, but if you do decide to implement some kind of dedicated work space, check out the questions above regarding a makeshift wall.
Do you have another question?
If so, send us an email to email@example.com and we will endeavour to answer it, and add to this list.
This document merely provides a broad outline of the subject and is necessarily general in nature. If you require specific advice, which is tailored to your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us (fees would apply).